connecting communities with opportunities through technology

Web Conferencing:

Running Effective Online Trainings & Meetings

Student Handout Packet

For more information about CCN: www.communitiesconnect.org/

For more information about CCN: www.communitiesconnect.org/

connecting communities with opportunities through technology

Setting Your Target for an Online Training
Before you dive head first into choosing an online conferencing provider or leading a webinar, take a step back and consider some important information. Taking a little time up front to think about your goals, target audience, and what you want to teach will help you identify which conferencing features will be important to you and which tool will best fits your needs. The questions below are not comprehensive, but will certainly help you get started. 1. Consider your goals. Web conferencing could help you accomplish several goals, which can help you make important decisions when it’s time to choose a web conferencing tool. Some sample goals may include: • Raising awareness about your organization and/or a new program • Teaching specific learning objectives to an audience • Attracting people to more in-depth, in-person training at your site • Driving membership • Orienting volunteers • Establishing your organization as a “Thought Leader” • Selling or promoting a service What is your primary goal for this conference?

What is your secondary goal?

2. Who is your audience for the conference (and what will motivate them to attend)? Potential audiences include remote staff, distant board or committee members, volunteers, staff or clients.

Describes their access to and comfort with technology tools (including attending web conferences).

Learn more about Communities Connect Network: www.communitiesconnect.org | manager@communitiesconnect.org | 509-358-7685

3. Think ahead about your content. Consider the content you are trying to convey through the web conference. Is it highly-sensitive or political? Is it staff training about trust and communication? Is it highly complex, technical, or experiential? Web conferencing is great for certain topics, but is certainly not the best medium for all content. Think about your content and whether web conferencing is the right vehicle to teach it. Describe the nature of the conference content. If you know them, list your learning objectives for the webinar.

4. What is your desired frequency? How often you want to hold this conference will have implications for how you choose to structure it and what tools you use to lead it. Which of the following options most closely describes your planned frequency for this conference? A. It is a one-shot deal. I’m holding court this one time and that’s it (for this topic anyway).

B. I’ll need to hold it several times, but it will always need to be facilitated “live.” C. I need to hold it several times, but it doesn’t always need to be live. A recorded version would do the trick.

If you plan on delivering this same content several times, consider using a web conferencing tool with user-friendly recording features so you can record the webinar and make it available to others for later use. Alternately, you may consider screencasting tools to create digital self-paced tutorials your constituents can access at any time.

Use the space below to capture any other important information about your goals or objectives for your web conference:

Communities Connect Network (CCN) is a statewide coalition of public and private organizations working to ensure that Washington State is a leader in “digital inclusion” – the equitable and most advantageous connection between people and technology needed to make Washington the best place possible for 21st Century jobs, health and education opportunities.

Learn more about Communities Connect Network: www.communitiesconnect.org | manager@communitiesconnect.org | 509-358-7685

connecting communities with opportunities through technology

Twenty Questions
General Questions to Ask Online Service/Software Providers
The following questions are great questions to ask any application service provider (ASP), or vendor who provides software via the Internet. Use these questions any time you are shopping for an online service provider. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. How long have you been in business? Do you have the features and functionality that we need? How do you handle tech support and customer service requests? (Call their tech support line to see for yourself) What training do you offer your customers? What documentation and training materials are available? Is your system user-friendly? Will it be for my constituents/participants? What are the system requirements of your tool? What web browsers and software is it compatible with? What are the fees? For initial set-up? Ongoing? How is pricing determined? How often do you address bug-fixes and/or develop new product features? Can we demo your tool or do an evaluation/trial period with it?

10. Is a yearly contract required?

Targeted Questions to Ask a Web Conferencing Provider
Once you have defined your high priority web conferencing features and are ready to choose your web conferencing provider, use the following questions to guide your analysis of and/or discussions with the possible vendors. You may add to or adjust this list based on your web conferencing goals and “Need to Have” features. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. What’s the upper limit on the number of seats in each conference? Is pricing depending on seat count? Does your system handle registration directly or will I need to use a separate system? What key features are included in your system? Recording? Application sharing? Polling? Etc. Are the telephone/audio functions bundled with your service or will I provide them separately? Do participants need to download files or updates to use your system? Are there known firewall issues? Which web browsers does your system support? Can we brand the conference page to look and feel like our site? What else can we customize? How do you ensure that my meeting and materials are secure? What data (if any) do you collect about my conference participants? How do you use it? How do you share it with me and my organization?

10. Do you offer other e-learning or collaboration tools in addition to web conferencing?

Communities Connect Network (CCN) is a statewide coalition of public and private organizations working to ensure that Washington State is a leader in “digital inclusion” – the equitable and most advantageous connection between people and technology needed to make Washington the best place possible for 21st Century jobs, health and education opportunities.

Learn more about Communities Connect Network: www.communitiesconnect.org | manager@communitiesconnect.org | 509-358-7685

connecting communities with opportunities through technology

Work Plan for a Holding an Online Training
The table below outlines the major tasks you need to plan for when you are hosting an online training. This timeline assumes a public training that requires advance enrollment by participants. If that is not the case for your web conference, you may not need to accomplish every task on this list.

By:
Eight weeks before the webinar:

You Should:
Have webinar topic, dates, and times chosen Know your primary goals and learning objectives for the webinar Have a web conferencing provider chosen (and up and running) Craft a working course title and marketing “blurb” Reserve a quiet calling space from which to lead your webinar Enlist a volunteer or colleague to co-chair your webinar with you Have a registration mechanism in place for attendees Promote the course on your web site and other outreach channels Send general confirmation emails to registrants (does not have to include detailed information for joining the webinar yet) Have a conference call provider chosen (if separate from web conferencing tool) and have a dial-in number assigned to your webinar Know your web conferencing tool inside and out – especially key features Schedule your webinar in your web conferencing tool to generate conference details like the hyperlink (URL) to join and an attendee key or passcode (if applicable) Test the webinar link and phone number before sending to registered attendees Have your training materials updated and ready for online format Send reminders to registrants with the details they need to test compatibility and join the web and audio portions of your webinar (see our sample emails for ideas) Resend marketing/outreach email to boost participation in your webinar Prepare a feedback survey/evaluation that participants will fill out after the webinar Lead a dry run of your webinar with peers/co-workers (OPTIONAL) Resend the detailed registration reminder to participants, including the compatibility test and web and audio instructions for your webinar Resend one more outreach email to boost last-minute participation in your webinar If possible, upload your presentation, handouts, and any other key data into your scheduled meeting on the web conferencing platform Print an attendee list, including phone numbers and emails in case you need them for troubleshooting purposes Use the restroom and get a glass of water before you begin Join the webinar (audio and web) 15 minutes early to help troubleshoot any issues Refer to CCN’s Tips for Leading Engaging Online Trainings/Meetings and have fun! Review evaluation feedback and make adjustments for the next webinar!

Six weeks before the webinar:

Four weeks before the webinar:

Two weeks before the webinar:

One week before the webinar:

One day before the webinar:

DAY OF WEBINAR:

After webinar:

Learn more about Communities Connect Network: www.communitiesconnect.org | manager@communitiesconnect.org | 509-358-7685

connecting communities with opportunities through technology

Sample Web Conference Confirmation Emails
Use the following messages as examples when you craft your own reminder emails for your web conferences.

E-MAIL 1: Initial response to web conference registration
Send within 2-3 days of receiving registration Thank you for registering for the ____ webinar on ______, from ____ to ____. We look forward to having you! Approximately one week before the workshop, we will send you an email with instructions for joining the phone conference line and the online portion of the webinar. The instructions will include a link to test your system’s compatibility with <insert web conferencing product name>, the web conferencing software we’ll use to host the workshop. Please follow the instructions and be sure to test your system’s compatibility in advance of the workshop. This will help avoid any technical difficulties on the day of the webinar. If you have any questions prior to receiving the instructions, you can contact __________ at < email> or < phone>. Sincerely, Your Name P.S. - TELL YOUR FRIENDS! We'd love your help spreading the word about this event. Please let others in your professional network know about this workshop. Here’s a link to share with them: <insert registration link here>.

E-MAIL 2: Follow-up instructions for web and audio conference details
Send twice: Once one-week before the webinar; again the day before the webinar This email includes important log-in details so you can join us for the ___________ webinar on _______, from ____ to ____. Please save this email for reference on the day of the webinar. First, please ensure that your browser is compatible with our conferencing system by using the following link to test it. Testing your compatibility in advance will save you potential frustration on the day of the webinar: www.testlinkhere.com. Follow the instructions on the screen once you’ve clicked the link. On the day of the webinar, please use the following information to join the conference: Phone-in instructions Dial-in number: 1-800-555-1212 Passcode: 1234567# Note: The 6 button on your phone’s key pad will mute and un-mute your phone once you are on the call. To connect to the online portion of the workshop Please click the following link to be taken directly to our webinar in the web conferencing site: www.ourwebinar.org/reallylongURLstrings/oftenbreakwhensent/inemails.htm If this does not appear as a link, please copy and paste the whole text string into the address bar of your web browser. Tips to help you make the most of the web conference: Please use the link above to test your system’s compatibility sometime BEFORE the workshop Log in 5-10 minutes early to troubleshoot if needed and allow us to start on time. Limit interruptions and distractions: Post a sign letting colleagues know that you are taking an online class, use a phone headset so you can take notes on the phone, follow the instructor’s requests regarding muting your phone line. If you have any questions about your registration, contact ______________________ at <email > or <phone>. Sincerely, Your Name

Learn more about Communities Connect Network: www.communitiesconnect.org | manager@communitiesconnect.org | 509-358-7685

connecting communities with opportunities through technology

Making the Most of Online Training
Thank you for participating in the Leading Effective Online Trainings & Meetings webinar! To make the most of our time together, we have compiled the following tips for participating in the online training and call.

CALL LOGISTICS
Call from a quiet, private location. If at all possible, please join the call from a private office or another quiet room free from distractions so you can focus. Background noise at your end will be shared with all participants on the call, so minimizing it will benefit you and other participants. Press __ to mute your telephone line. If you need to quiet background noise, please press __ to mute your telephone line. Press it again to un-mute your telephone line if you want to ask a question or respond to a question from the facilitator. Do not put the call on hold. Using the hold feature of your phone may cause you to lose your connection or broadcast a hold message/music to the rest of the attendees.

ASKING QUESTIONS
To ask questions, click on the “Ask a Question” button on the bottom right-side of the conference window. Type in your question and then click the “Ask” button to submit your question. We will try to address all relevant questions possible in a timely manner. Feel free to voice your questions on the phone if they benefit the whole group!

GENERAL TIPS FOR STAYING FOCUSED & INVOLVED ON THE CALL:
Follow along with the instructor slides and take notes on your printed handouts. Ask questions! Participate in the group discussions and activities on the call. Use the polling slides that your instructor displays to indicate your opinion and stay involved.

WE WANT YOUR FEEDBACK!
We are committed to evaluating the quality of the services we deliver. If you have any feedback about the content or delivery of the call, please share it with us at the end of the workshop! Thank you for helping us make this an effective workshop for future participants.

Learn more about Communities Connect Network: www.communitiesconnect.org | manager@communitiesconnect.org | 509-358-7685

connecting communities with opportunities through technology

Top Tips for Leading a Seamless and Engaging Online Training
Refer to these tried and tested tips when preparing to lead your next online training and you’ll be ready to dodge common pitfalls and engage your participants in meaningful learning!

In the Preparation Phase
Prepare yourself for success
• • • • • • • • Enlist a support side-kick. She can help handle questions or troubleshooting issues during the call, which will free you up to focus on being present and engaging your audience! Tell attendees about themselves. Use registration questions to get to know your audience. For example, create and share a slide with general location data so they “see” who else is on the call. Practice, practice, practice! Make sure you’ve mastered the basics of any web conferencing features you plan to use like polling, application sharing, and the question and answer manager. Make it personal. Post a picture of yourself on the first slide so participants feel connected to you. Keep it simple. Keep slides fairly simple. Full-screen photos may take longer to load depending on the bandwidth of your attendees. Simple graphics or smaller photos may display more quickly. Go hands-free. A hands-free headset for your phone lets you move freely just as you would at in-person training, which will allow you to be more natural when you are presenting. Take care of basic needs first. Use the restroom before the conference, and have a glass of water nearby in case you get a frog in your throat! Be prepared for the vacuum. If you are used to teaching in-person, the online format will seem eerily quiet. It’s not you; it’s the medium. Press on.

Prepare your attendees for success
• • Get a head start. Encourage people to join the conference at least 5-10 minutes before hand to allow time for the inevitable troubleshooting. “Pre-flight” everyone. In other words, send participants information to test the conference system well-ahead of time. Send a reminder email with the same information. Test all of the phone numbers, links and processes yourself so you can give them detailed and accurate information.

Cover Your Bases
• • • • Plaster the phone number. Have your dial in number and passcode posted in several places for easy access by participants (ex: in your web conferencing tool, on your first slide, in a chat window, etc.) Have a back-up PC. Have another computer set up in attendee view so you know what participants are seeing. If your system freezes or crashes, you’ll have a back up computer to present from. Use screenshots. If you plan to use application sharing to demonstrate certain skills, have screen shots of the critical elements built into your slideshow in case application sharing is slow or not working. Make materials available online. Post critical webinar materials to a web site in case students can’t get the web conference system to work. That way, they can still download your slides and follow along.

Learn more about Communities Connect Network: www.communitiesconnect.org | manager@communitiesconnect.org | 509-358-7685

In the Presentation Phase
Practice good presentation hygiene
• • • • • • • • Be timely. Start on time and get into content as quickly as possible without belaboring introductions. Be easy to follow. Refer to slides by number and title frequently in case participants get distracted. Use presenter tools like the virtual laser pointer or drawing tools to highlight the points you are making. Relax and smile. Your participants will be able to hear your smile through the phone line. Be visual. Integrate meaningful graphics onto slides if possible. Bullets alone are challenging online. Deal with noisy callers right away. It distracts from others’ learning if you don’t squelch noisy callers ASAP. Politely ask them to mute their lines if they have background noise. Consider question quantity. If there are more than 15 people on the call, consider using only electronic questions and discussion, or carefully structure certain times for questions and discussion. With that many people on the phone, open discussions can get messy and silence all but the boldest participants. Avoid asides. You’ll be tempted to make asides, talk to yourself, or admit mistakes (especially since you won’t be getting much feedback from the audience). Don’t do it. Self-talk falls totally flat in this medium. And as for mistakes – don’t announce them. Your audience likely won’t notice them anyway. Follow-up. What you do at the end of or after the webinar is just as important as the webinar itself. Be sure to survey your attendees and send appropriate and relevant follow up emails.

Engage your audience for more effective learning
• • • • • • • Be clutter free. Web conferencing tools usually allow you to hide certain features or turn them off. If you don’t plan to use it feature, turn it off. This will clear some clutter from your participants’ screens and reduce distractions. Innovate with basic features. Have a simple conferencing system? Make tools like electronic “handraising” or seating charts do double duty as the answers to Yes/No questions you ask the students. Check in with participants. Use built-in polling features or “handmade” polling slides to get attendee opinions or quiz them on content. Share questions broadly. If you do a specific Q&A period, post questions submitted electronically to a whiteboard as you answer them so folks can follow along more easily. Use participant names and examples. Whenever possible, refer to attendees by name or organization name and use relevant examples. Also, call on people by name directly rather than asking for volunteers; web conferences demand directed facilitation. Show and tell. When sharing information about a website or a particular resource, consider “bringing” people there to add interaction and help them remember the site. Good training rules still apply. Speak slowly and clearly, don’t read your slides, and give participants an opportunity to get involved!

Communities Connect Network (CCN) is a statewide coalition of public and private organizations working to ensure that Washington State is a leader in “digital inclusion” – the equitable and most advantageous connection between people and technology needed to make Washington the best place possible for 21st Century jobs, health and education opportunities.

Learn more about Communities Connect Network: www.communitiesconnect.org | manager@communitiesconnect.org | 509-358-7685

connecting communities with opportunities through technology

Resources for Further Learning
Continue Today’s Discussion
Download class handouts, post questions in a discussion group, and link to additional resources on the CCN Community site: http://communitiesconnect.wikispaces.com/

The World of Online Learning
WebJunction’s Blended Learning Guide. WebJunction has created a fantastic primer that explores the potential for using a mix of online learning tools with traditional classroom learning. It contains a helpful overview of various online learning tools. Download a copy of the report at http://webjunction.org/do/DisplayContent?id=13893, and be sure to check out the wealth of great e-learning materials available on the WebJunction site.

Choosing Web Conferencing Providers
Robin Good's Official Guide to Web Conferencing & Live Presentation Tools. Thorough guide to many conferencing tools. Many reviews are available for free; some will be restricted. Still a great way to see a list of players and see how features compare across them. Hint: Try clicking different links and navigating through his site in various ways, which maximizes the number of tools you can find data for. www.masternewmedia.org/reports/webconferencing/guide Think of It’s Overview of Real-Time Web Conferencing Providers. While the site isn’t pretty, it is a good place to start your research on web conferencing providers. The site owner tracks the comings and goings of different vendors on the webinar scene and links to helpful comparison articles. It’s always a good idea to verify that information is current by directly visit the vendor site as well. http://www.thinkofit.com/webconf/realtime.htm C-Net’s Review of 6 Web Conferencing Providers. It’s a couple of years old now, but is still a solid review of some big, key players. Be aware that Adobe now owns the Macromedia Breeze product and integrated it into Adobe Connect product. http://reviews.cnet.com/4520-10259_7-5746833-1.html?tag=feat.1

Leading Engaging Online Trainings
101 Tips to Motivate the Online Learner. Created by the experts at InSync Training, this fun guide highlights many tips for making online learning engaging and motivating. You need to fill out a small web form in order to download the guide, but just use a junk email address and it will be worth it. http://www.insynctraining.com/a101tips/index.htm Running Effective Online Trainings. Article by NPower summarizing many of the key issues covered in today’s webinar. Will serve as a good overview for colleagues who couldn’t attend. Be sure to check out the other helpful training articles posted in the TechSoup Learning Center as well. http://techsoup.org/learningcenter/training/page4893.cfm

Communities Connect Network (CCN) is a statewide coalition of public and private organizations working to ensure that Washington State is a leader in “digital inclusion” – the equitable and most advantageous connection between people and technology needed to make Washington the best place possible for 21st Century jobs, health and education opportunities.

Learn more about Communities Connect Network: www.communitiesconnect.org | manager@communitiesconnect.org | 509-358-7685

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